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A Walk with Hemingway

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There are many great works of literature today, but Hemingway's writings emerge, along with others, as American Classics. Why were some of Ernest Hemingway's writings more successful than others? Was his final writing, The Old Man and the Sea, a culmination of his beliefs about life as he saw it as his life neared its end? Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea reflects determination and perseverance which got Hemingway through life and obstacles in his writing career.

Hemingway's life was shaped by many situations and inspirational figures. He was born June 21, 1899, in Oak Park, Illinois. He was the eldest of six children. Hemingway's mother played an important role in inspiring him and his creative imagination by exposing him to art, museums, and piano lessons at a very early age. These experiences helped to contribute to his abilities to see life from many different perspectives. Throughout high school Hemingway was inspired by many people, and he also inspired many people. One of the most important inspirational figures in Hemingway's life was Ring Lardner, the captain of his high school football team. One reason they were close was because of their similar interest in playing football. Another activity he enjoyed while he was in high school was writing for the school newspaper. Hemingway was an important contributor for the paper until his graduation in 1917 (Young). Working on the school newspaper helped him acquire many different styles of writing. Because of these experiences, Hemingway used the skills learned to assist him in publishing many successful literary pieces. In 1923, he published Three Stories, along with Ten Poems. Then, in 1925, he published In Our Time. Lastly, in 1929, he published Farewell to Arms. His final work, The Old Man and the Sea was not published for another fifteen years. Ernest Hemingway's life was also affected greatly by continual marriages and divorces. Throughout his life, Hemingway married four times: Gellhorn, Welsh, Richardson, and Pfeiffer. None of these marriages proved successful. He also moved many times throughout his adulthood to places including Italy, Spain, Europe, and Florida (Sullivan 897-901). Hemingway grew up in the era of World War I which was still fresh in America's mind (Young). One of the topics Hemingway carries throughout his writings is the lack of finances many of his characters had. As a result, several of his characters come from less fortunate upbringings where they did not have much in terms of material possessions. Another influence on Hemingway's writings was the Spanish Civil War. Due to spending part of his adult life there and his experiences in writing for newspapers Hemingway was invited By NANA to cover the war by travelling to Spain (Young). As mentioned previously, Hemingway's life was influenced by many inspirational figures, including his high school football teammate who showed him how to press on through obstacles and reach the career of his dreams. This career was writing, but, unfortunately he did not become known for his contributions to literature until after his death.

Also, Hemingway's life was directly affected by his non-existent faith. Hemingway was not very religious; therefore, spiritual beliefs did not have an effect on his writing. During his church blessed marriage to Pauline, Hemingway was "Catholic for a while" until the marriage ended (Pratt). Hemingway, however, was never married in a church, was not brought up in church, and never became a very lonely and unhappy man later in life (Nagel). Tragically, Hemingway died July 2, 1961, by putting a twelve gauge shotgun in his mouth and pulling the trigger, similar to his father's death (Sullivan). After Hemingway's death, new attention was brought to his books, more



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